Last Girl Standing
R2 - United Kingdom - Icon Home Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Matthew Crossman (11th July 2016).
The Film

Camryn (Akasha Villalobos) and friend are in the woods being stalked by a serial killer called The Hunter. As they try to make their escape The Hunter appears, dressed with a animal face mask and antlers, and runs Camryn's friend through the chest with a long knife. Camryn manages to escape and finds her way back to the camp-site where a lone camp fire is still aglow. Surrounding the camp fire is the remainder of her friends all in various states of butchery. Camryn finds one friend, a girl, still alive, strung up on a tree. Camryn starts to help her down but the girl is booby trapped and Camryn finds herself pinned to the tree by a sharp implement. Then The Hunter returns and starts to ready his knives to finish Camryn off. Camryn manages to escape the trap and after a tussle with the killer manages to escape his clutches and then sees The Hunter impaled on one of his own traps. Camryn staggers away from the carnage and is rescued the next morning by a passing motorist. Five years later and Camryn still suffers the physical and mental scars of that night. Whilst Camryn seems ashamed of her physical scars it is the mental scars that plague her the most. She hears The Hunter's heavy breathing in her bathroom and with a concentrated effort they disappear. One night, was working late in the launderette where she is employed she is chased by The Hunter. Luckily new employee Nick (Brian Villalobos) arrives and the apparition of The Hunter disappears. The police investigate but find no evidence of an intruder. On the advice of the police that Camryn should not spend the night alone Nick suggests that she can sleep on the sofa at his place that he shares with some room mates. Camryn stays the night and starts to get to know, and like Nick's friends. The following morning she goes into work and later thinks she sees The Hunter at her workplace again. This time, however, she raises the alarm and gives chase after him. Nick catches up with her in the alley outside the launderette but no one else is there. Camryn is given the rest of the day off. Later that evening Camryn goes to Nick's place and sees a dead, skinned rabbit hanging in the garden. She then sees Nick and his friends leaving to go to a bar and follows them. Inside the bar she meets up with Nick and his friends and then through the crowd she believes she sees The Hunter again in long flowing robes and brandishing a knife. She smashes a glass over the head of the robed figure who turns out just to be another patron in the bar. Outside Nick questions Camryn about her behaviour and she tells Nick that she thinks The Hunter is not after her but after Nick and his friends. Returning back to Nick's home the skinned rabbit is gone and Camryn is having a hard time convincing the others that they are in peril.

'Last Girl Standing' is an interesting premise about what happens to the final survivor of a massacre after all is said and done. Only one other film that I can recall would address this issue and that was the story of Laurie Strode as portrayed in 'Halloween: H2O. Here the viewer is left unsure of whether The Hunter really has returned or it is all a figment of Camryn's imagination. Akasha Villalobos portrays Camryn well but cannot seem to make the more dramatic parts of her role, the parts that involve strong emotions such as terror or anger, work very well. Nick, as portrayed by Brian Villalobos, and Husband of Akasha, comes across better but then he has been given a more sympathetic role. The rest of the cast are perfectly capable and the Directing chores, as performed by Benjamin R Moody, are also to a good standard. Where the film fails is that a large portion of it's running time is given over to rather mundane things such as watching Camryn working in the launderette/ dry cleaning business. The script, also Benjamin R Moody's work, is a touch light and I feel the movie would have benefited from some judicious editing, especially in the opening forty five minutes. Whilst I appreciate that Camryn's World and her state of mind have been to shown I feel that too much was dedicated to it and it slows the movie down too much. Students and aficionados of the horror genre will see the 'scare' moments coming a mile off which are not helped by a musical soundtrack that sounds a warning alarm before anything actually happens on screen. The film tries to walk the fine line between horror film and psychological drama and comes fairly close to pulling it off but the absence of anything happening for long periods of the movie scupper it in the end. A brave attempt that falls just short.

Video

The film is presented on the DVD in it's original anamorphic aspect ratio of 1.85:1. As the film was released within the last year the picture and print quality is, as you would expect, pretty flawless. Much of the movie takes place after dark and despite this the film is well lit and viewable throughout.

Audio

There are two options (English) in which to hear the soundtrack of 'Last Girl Standing' on this DVD. The first option is the limited 2.0 Stereo choice which ably does the job but lacks depth and, of course, the necessary surround sound for a film of this ilk. The 5.1 Dolby Digital option is the recommended choice as it greatly enhances the soundtrack especially when it comes to the 'scare' moments. The sub woofer adds a deep, rumbling base throughout the film which is sorely missed when it's off as in the 2.0 option. Both options are fine and dialogue is clear throughout but the 5.1 option is definitely the one to go for as it adds and enhances the enjoyment of the movie. White, computer generated English HoH subtitles are available on this disc.

Extras

Introduction (2.29) - Phil McEvoy and Alan Jones (both from Frightfest Presents) briefly introduce and give a little bit of background about the film, the actors and the film-makers behind it.

Audio Commentary (86:54) - Benjamin R Moody (Director and Writer) and Rachel Moody (Producer) talk about their background in the film business and how they have worked together before. The commentary is scene specific whilst the pair give an informative talk about the production and filming of the picture as well as some key decisions made about the film. One interesting anecdote has Ben telling us how he cut out about eight minutes of the actors working in the dry cleaners. I still think there is too much in the movie still! A decent, and welcome, commentary. Fans of the film will glean plenty of insider knowledge about the picture.

Interview with Director Benjamin R Moody at the 2015 NYC Horror Film Festival (7.09) - This interview is presented in 1.85:1 but it's not anamorphic. This is a basic interview with Ben on screen and the occasional behind the scenes photograph as he talks about his previous work, the shoot of 'Last Girl Standing', and the critical response to the film.

Behind the Scenes (5.28) - This is a series of un-narrated shots from behind the scenes of the movie with the soundtrack playing in the background.

Outtakes (4.27) - A series of amusing out takes that are best watched once you have enjoyed the film as they contain spoilers.

Trailers - Rounding off this disc are four trailers for other 'Frightfest Presents' films that are due out shortly on DVD. These are 'The Unfolding' (1.35), 'Landmine Goes Click' (1.42), ' Curtain' (1.16) and ' The Lesson' (1.37)

Overall

A brave attempt at something different which just falls short due to scripting inadequacies. Considering the film was made on such a small budget all involved should be applauded for a very polished film. 'Last Girl Standing' plays more on the psychological effects of the cast more than the physical effects but it still boasts a pretty decent opening and closing for hard core horror fans.

The Film: B- Video: B+ Audio: B+ Extras: A Overall: B+

 


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